Once in a generation, a historian will redefine his field, producing a book that demands to be read and heard - a product of electrifying scholarship conveyed with commanding skill. Diarmaid MacCulloch's Christianity is such a book. Breathtaking in ambition, it ranges back to the origins of the Hebrew Bible and covers the world, following the three main strands of the Christian faith.
Christianity will teach modern listeners things that have been lost in time about how Jesus' message spread and how the New Testament was formed. We follow the Christian story to all corners of the globe, filling in often neglected accounts of conversions and confrontations in Africa and Asia. And we discover the roots of the faith that galvanized America, charting the rise of the evangelical movement from its origins in Germany and England. This audiobook encompasses all of intellectual history - we meet monks and crusaders, heretics and saints, slave traders and abolitionists, and discover Christianity's essential role in driving the enlightenment and the age of exploration, and shaping the course of World War I and World War II.
We are living in a time of tremendous religious awareness, when both believers and non-believers are deeply engaged by questions of religion and tradition, seeking to understand the violence sometimes perpetrated in the name of God. The son of an Anglican clergyman, MacCulloch writes with deep feeling about faith. His last book, The Reformation, was chosen by dozens of publications as Best Book of the Year and won the National Book Critics Circle Award. This awe-inspiring follow-up is a landmark new history of the faith that continues to shape the world.
©2010 Diamaid MacCulloch (P)2010 Gildan Media Corp
"Assuming no previous knowledge on the part of readers about Christian traditions, MacCulloch traces in breathtaking detail the often contentious arguments within Christianity for the past 3,000 years. His monumental achievement will not soon be surpassed." (Publishers Weekly)
"A work of exceptional breadth and subtlety." (Booklist)
Having enjoyed Diarmaid MacCulloch's BBC series, I was thrilled to see this book available on Audible. The content is fascinating - however, I find the American narration off putting and distracting (timbre, pronounciations e.g. deity, Israel etc). Had it been a British narrator, I wouldn't hesitate to give it 5 stars.
Once you get over the initially patronising tone of Walter Dixon's reading this is a genuinely interesting work. MacCullogh's agenda as a 'friend of Christianity' is apparent throughout and this is very much a study of Christianity from the outside with no proselytising mission. The audiobook can be confusing as several of the themes overlap, for obvious reasons, and it's more difficult to 'flick back a couple of pages' in an audiobook, so it can be easy to lose the thread from time to time. However, despite this the level of detail given to major thinkers and themes within the development of Christianity is useful and informative for everyone but the expert in this area. It is enjoyable to read / listen to a work from an author as comfortable citing Father Ted as St. Augustine. This is neither inaccessible to the beginner nor dumbed down to the point of meaninglessness. Well worth the 40 odd hours listening!
Brilliantly written and packed with interesting detail -a must for anybody interested in World History or Christianity. The product however is seriously marred by robotic narration -I could believe that it was electronically generated! A great shame, wish I'd got the print version.
Whether you are a Christian or not, this book is well worth investigating for it's historical content alone. There are a number of surprises and much thought provoking material contained within. My friend and I listened to this while driving around Europe for two weeks, and it was great to provoke discussion. My only quibble is the reader and the appalling American pronunciations which are irritating and detract from the flow.
I've had it for obverse a year and still haven't got through it all. Perhaps a better read than a listen.
I'm an atheist, but I have a continuing interest in the history of the great religions, not least because of the impact that - rightly or, in my view, wrongly - they continue to have on the world. I downloaded this book having seen Diarmaid MacCulloch's BBC Television series on Christianity and also heard him talk on various radio programmes such as In Our Time.
The scale of the project, and in particular the brilliant notion of starting the history of Christianity a thousand years before Christ, is astonishing. Diarmaid MacCulloch wears his scholarship lightly, but never patronises the reader/listener, and the way in which different strands of the worldview are intertwined is absolutely fascinating. It's a big book and it takes a long time to get through, but it is well worth it. Highly recommended.
OK you need to have an interest in the history of Christendom. Not Christianity mind you-that you can work out yourself from the New Testament Bible reading. Christendom as it is today has an extremely colourful origin. This remarkable work will explain so much of why modern day Christendom is so different from 1st Century Christianity. I listened to the work while driving and will one day listen again.And it was well read.
This is a very interesting book. The author describes himself as a friend of Christianity. The first few chapter cast doubt on the New Testament which I found difficult listening as a Christian. Once past this New Testament era the author paints a sweeping vista of Christian history which is amazing. It is worth knowing the world wide history of the church to see the amazing grace of God and foolishness of so many Christian leaders. There are real lessons to be learned.
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